Palin should establish a more positive media image

When Sarah Palin became John McCain’s running mate in the 2008 presidential election, I don’t think she knew exactly what she was getting herself into.

With an all-American persona and little political experience, she suddenly became a prime media target. She went from a successful governor to Katie Couric’s verbal punching bag and she hasn’t necessarily done anything to prevent such treatment.

Since the 2008 election came to a close, Palin stepped down from her position as Alaska’s governor and stated that she would not run for re-election, much to the chagrin of Republicans and to the joy of Democrats.

Then she found herself in the midst of legal battles. According to a report, she attempted to sue Alaskan news outlets, claiming they were guilty of “defamation.” In the story, Palin played the victim, citing comments people made about her in blogs and on Twitter, then invited Americans to her pity party.

“How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it’s about country,” Palin said in a CBS NEWS report following her resignation. “…And though it’s honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make.”

Somehow, Palin managed to shift the focus from her political life to her personal life. She is a solid Conservative, and I respect her for that. She has consistent social views and a solid grasp on our current economic situation, but all this attention is diverting the country’s glance.

It’s as if Palin is opening the door to her Wasilla, Alaska home, letting the media track mud on her carpet and yelling at it for doing so.

If she didn’t want her personal life to be publicized to this extent, she shouldn’t have welcomed the “defamers” into her home. Not only has Palin established a poor public image, but a poor political image amongst Republicans.

According to a report, Palin shocked Republicans by resigning. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said her decision was “astounding,” and that Palin would be better off as governor than “just being a private citizen.” It would seem Palin’s reason for resignation would be to take a greater opportunity. Not the case.

Instead, she decided to focus fully on her political action committee, SarahPAC. She also signed a book deal with HarperCollins Publishers two months before resigning. That’s not a coincidence.

And that’s where mere speculative claims become legitimate facts. If Palin weren’t in a financial pickle, she wouldn’t have to seek a more lucrative endeavor, like heading a PAC.

She probably wouldn’t have had to resign.

Palin has the potential to be a great Conservative. Heck, she’s only 45 years old. She has time to establish herself as a legitimate politician. But before she focuses on the White House, she needs to establish a new media image – and quickly.

She shouldn’t attempt to change her views, but she needs to draw positive attention. She should demonstrate to America what her plan is for our financial situation, not her own. She should let the media know if she’s concerned about Republicans, not clueless bloggers and Tweeters.

And please, ex-Governor Palin, don’t run for president in 2012. You deserve a rest.

Wyatt Kanyer is a sophomore news-editorial journalism major from Yakima, Washington.